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Post Dry-Dock ~ Rig-up Continues…

Saturday April 2, 2011

We have been afloat since last Monday. It has been steady rain and cold since then. Today is the first dry & sunny day in a week. But it is still cold plus it is windy. USCG came back aboard yesterday for a very short boat ride to satisfy a new local to Norfolk area requirement to “view” (verify) that a recently dry-docked wooden vessel is no longer leaking before they award the dry-docking credit. This new requirement seems to be about checking that such leaking can no longer be “blamed” on “she is still swelling up” after drying out during dry-dock. Pride II passed with flying colors…meaning there was no leaking. Now we are fully focused on rig-up so that we can go sailing to check the ship and the rig and the sail and train the crew. It looks like we won’t be sailing till Monday.

Once we go sailing, we will take most of the week to return to Baltimore. The plan is to anchor during the evenings and sail during the days. There is a lot for the crew to learn…Setting and stowing sail…tacking and gybing sail…Fire drill….Man overboard drill…Abandon ship drill….Small boat deployment drill….Anchor handling….Just to name a small portion of all that needs knowing.

Amidst our post dry-docking week with the cold and rain we discovered the aft cabin shower stall basin was emitting ants. The shower stall basin had to be removed…which involved quite a bit of disassembly of wood trim and also the base to the aft head toilet. The 1st Mate Ryan Graham is a qualified carpenter so has taken lead on the project. But being 1st Mate means that he has been distracted by questions coming from crew. Yesterday was a fork-in-the-road day…do we continue to save the existing, custom made shower basin…or do we hunt down a ready-made replacement? In the end we are sticking with the original basin. Today things should start going back together. Even so, there is another delay. The 1st Mate is spending the first two hours today on administration. Printing extra deck log pages. Arranging the watch schedule for the coming week of sailing. Printing those out. Arranging the schedule of crew domestic chores for the next week. These activities are a demonstration of how things go day-to-day during spring rig-up. Plan on actually working…but become distracted by training, teaching, instructing and administration.

During rig-up, each day is a full 9-12 hours long. Typically we try to have breakfast at 7:30 AM and go to work at 8 AM. Lunch is a half-an-hour starting near noon. Supper is usually at 6 PM. But since being re-launched and moving back aboard to live we have had a hard time having dinner by 7 PM. The evening daylight goes till 7 PM and quitting before then has been hard. Not because anyone is happier to work than to quit working, but because it is so apparent to everyone that there is so much to do. Even then, for officers there are things that still need to be done after supper to keep up with details like log keeping, communications with the office and the needs of public relations like this blog, Facebook etc. The crew had its first day off in a month last Sunday, March 27, the day before we launched (their first day on the job was February 28). That last Saturday of work prior to re-launching did not end till 8:30 PM (after starting at 7 AM) because of the need to get the bottom painting done before the coming rain.

Now that sails are actually being tied on and the deck is becoming more clear of debris associated with rig-up there is a growing recognition that the putting-together aspect of rig-up is going into the final phases. Everyone looks forward to getting underway and going sailing with a completed vessel with all of its bits in their proper places. Reaching such a status will bring Pride II back to her proper and normal functional beauty. Once we reach that, the sense of accomplishment will be short lived because of all the mission preparations that need to be completed in preparation of the first public event…Privateers Day Weekend in Baltimore April 15/16.

Jan C Miles, A Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II